During their first five years of marriage, they spent vacations seeing the U.S. That sparked a love of experiencing new places, which set them on a path to working on a different continent.
In July 2013, they packed up their lives in America and moved to Dublin, Ireland.
Beginning as Bears
Adam, originally from Denver, and Nicole, originally from Washington, Missouri, both attended Missouri State’s College of Business.
Adam graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems. He had been interested in computing and programming since he was young.
“One year my parents spent their entire Christmas budget, with my grandma, buying an IBM Tandy 1000 from Radio Shack for me,” he said.
“Today, my watch probably has more computing power than that computer, but at the time that was a pretty big deal.”
During school, he also became interested in finance and management. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from MSU in December 2004.
Nicole earned a bachelor’s in accounting in June 2004. After graduation, she was recruited by MetLife for a job in Tampa, Florida.
Going from Florida to Ireland
Nicole and Adam were dating at the time, and Adam also took a job with MetLife after earning his MBA.
In August 2004, in the midst of Hurricane Charley, Adam and Nicole got engaged. By 2005, they were married and moving up the career ladder.
Nicole started her tenure at MetLife in the accounting department. She was responsible for foreign and domestic bank account reconciliations. Eventually, she supervised a team that managed accounts obtained from various mergers and acquisitions.
She went to school while working, and in 2007 she received an MBA from Saint Leo University in Florida. In 2008, she earned a position on the finance audit team — a career path she had sought since her time at MSU.
Adam started his career as a business analyst who worked on system implementations for the finance team. He moved to the corporate treasury side of MetLife in 2007.
In 2011, MetLife acquired American Life Insurance Company, known as ALICO, and Adam joined the international treasury team.
It was Adam’s career that initiated their move to Dublin. In 2013, MetLife was working to regionalize their operations after acquiring ALICO.
They wanted to build up teams where they had regional offices.
“They asked me if I would go to Dublin, so I did — just to try something new,” Adam said. “It was the right time, from an age and career perspective. I thought we’d do that for two or three years, and then come home. That was the second time we moved somewhere expecting it to be short-term, and it wasn’t!”
Learning the Irish ways
Moving overseas came with adjustments. Most came as pleasant surprises.
“The biggest shock for me was the difference in the style of living,” Adam said. “They have a good balance between work and leisure; they never make you feel guilty for taking a vacation.”
The pair immediately began exploring.
“We’ve continued to travel all over Europe, just because of how easy it is,” Nicole said. “We’ve gone to islands I didn’t know existed until we moved to Dublin.”
Along with the relaxed style of living, Adam and Nicole have developed an appreciation for Dublin’s food, compact city living and people.
“They have a unique way in Ireland of making people feel welcome,” Adam said. “I don’t think they really try hard, that’s just how they are. That helped with the transition of moving an ocean away from our family.”
Sharing their story with other Bears
Adam now works as the lead of the treasury function for MetLife Europe, Middle East and Africa. He oversees operations in 26 countries.
Nicole works as the functional plan owner for the audit team in the same region. She heads finance, investment, human resources, procurement and various other corporate functional-level audits.
The couple share their experiences with Missouri State students. They have spoken to Bears who are studying in Ireland with MSU study abroad programs.
They come back to the Midwest a couple of times a year. Moving home is a possibility in the back of their minds — but they couldn’t say when.
“I’ve tried in the past to have a five-year plan, and obviously, it doesn’t really work!” Adam said. “We’re both proud that we took a few chances on these jobs. We tried different things, met different people, made a lot of good friends and had a lot of good experiences.”
Nicole advises others to step out of their comfort zones.
“As they say in Ireland, just ‘give it a go’ and see what happens!”
Share your experience with students
BearTalks is a group of alumni speakers who volunteer to share their expertise with Missouri State University student groups and organizations. Alumni self-identify their topic areas of expertise and serve as a resource for student groups on those subjects.
“I like getting the questions, just because they’re not always about the technical things. They’re more about personal experiences. By them asking questions about it, it really kind of makes it that much more enjoyable.”
Nicole said of speaking with students about her own life.
Adam says he considers speaking to students a success if any of them get inspiration from his message. “I like the interaction.”